Best Western Increases Revenue with Personalized Promotions

| December 09, 2008

Best Western International announces that is has successfully grown awareness for its own branded credit card, and increased revenues through incremental bookings via implementation of a TransPromo pilot test conducted by InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh. The scheme replaced inserts previously included with the program statement, with personalized and targeted promotions on quarterly rewards statements, sent to a segment of Best Western Gold Crown Club International rewards card customers in North America. The program was executed as part of the Routes to Revenue research initiative released by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, highlighting key opportunities for companies looking to drive growth and customer engagement through highly personalized, relevant and measurable campaigns.

The eight week pilot aimed to promote the Best Western branded MasterCard among rewards cards members, as well as encourage guests to upgrade their membership level through increased hotel usage. It was carried out with a group of 100,000 guests; 50,000 of these guests became the control group and the other 50,000 received TransPromo communications. The primary marketing campaign highlighted Best Western's fall promotion, titled "More Rewards, Faster." The scheme encouraged hotel guests to stay during a set time period to earn double points or miles, which could be used on free nights, airline miles, gas cards and more.  This promotion in turn increased the number of customer stays and customer spend.

Increased revenue
Applications for the Best Western credit card among the guests receiving the TransPromo statement were boosted by 500 percent and 15 percent more of these guests registered for the "More Rewards, Faster" scheme than those in the control group. More than one third (39 percent) of that group then went on to stay in a Best Western location after signing up for the promotion, stayed a longer duration than the control group, and generated 30 percent more in incremental revenue during their stay.

"We are delighted in the results of this trial and our work with the CMO Council and InfoPrint. This pilot really does underline our ongoing commitment to rewarding our loyal customers and our commitment to continually deepen our relationships with them," says Tammy Lucas, director, marketing programs at Best Western International.  "Our rewards statements have typically been reporting rather than response vehicles, but with the help of InfoPrint and CMO Council, we have identified ways to expand our interaction with customers."

Best Western and InfoPrint worked together to identify 100,000 customers that were similar in their Best Western relationship. Once identified, these 100,000 rewards customers were randomly assigned, 50,000 to the test segment to receive TransPromo communications and the remaining 50,000 to receive their usual rewards statement.

This is part of the CMO Council's Precision Promotion campaign (www.precisionpromotion.org), which explores strategies and techniques for customer revenue optimization, including integrating transactional print and electronic communications with personalized promotional marketing offers.

The pilot was run at the InfoPrint Innovation Center in Boulder, Colo., and output sent to selected Best Western hotel guests on their rewards statements. InfoPrint leveraged their TransPromo Consultancy Practice and software offerings, from best of breed partners such as GMC. GMC software lets users easily design and create personalized documents, such as direct marketing materials, while enabling integration of data-driven marketing messages into statements. The pilot was being printed on its full color, continuous forms inkjet drop-on-demand printing system, the InfoPrint 5000.

TransPromo is a technique that combines transactional data with promotional documents and information to provide more targeted marketing on trusted documents such as statements. It is an easy way to reach out to customers without having to make a huge investment in new promotional campaigns or materials.

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